Finding my faculties!

I recently meet a professional friend for lunch who last year gained a post as lecturer in the Engineering Faculty at my local University. I’ve had involvement myself with the Creative Arts faculty at the University helping out with sessions for the media practice department involving mostly Media Studies graduates, post and Masters.

My friend now lecturers in the Music Technology Department, although the course should really be called “Audio Recording Technology” simply because of the wide range of subject matter and equipment covered. They are learning not just about recording music, but about all audio recording genres, even putting together Radio Plays, working from script to finished piece including having to gather and record all their sound effects as well as laying down the performed script.

As an ‘Audio’ professional myself, when I started my career in the BBC I very much benefited from experiencing all the different skills involved across the board in sound engineering. From covering a classical concert, to dubbing a natural history programme, from documentary recording to outside broadcasts. All the skills learned in one area were transferable and enhanced another.

As multimedia pervades so much of what we do today, any media skills learned in one area are easily transferable to another. This is also obviously the case with Audio Recording Technology and Media Practice, there is a lot of very similar subject matter and the same equipment is used by both courses/faculties. I’m sure if I delved deeper into the University course subjects and the faculties I could find many subjects to add to the ‘media’ list.

Yet each faculty seemed to be operating like two very different and competing companies, not two parts of the same University. No facilities, equipment or expertise are shared, everything is simply duplicated.

Not only that, the approach of both faculties is also very different. My experience of the Creative Arts faculty is that there is a great divide between academic and technical, the lecturers are the academics (the artistics) and the media practice instructors (given a lower grade) are the technicals! Even thought I think one or two of the instructors could teach media studies better than some of the academics!!!
And my friends’ post vividly points up the difference in approach of the two faculties. He is a “Professional Lecturer”. He is hands on technical, employed because of his professional experience to teach the academic through the practical out working of the subject. He’s no less academic than the Media Studies Lecturers but sets and instructs on practical projects making sure the students know how to use the gear to achieve their artistic and academic aims and therefore not only get a good degree, but be set with the right skills to work in their desired career.

Media now pervades a lot of subjects and Universities are under great pressure to save money. If there was a bit of joined up thinking, not only could they save money, but also by creating a unified multi-media resource of professional people and equipment the reputation and educational standards of the University would go through the roof!!!

But then again engineering has nothing to do with Creative Arts does it????

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